Breaking Down New Air Jordan IX 'Slim Jenkins' Shoes

Ryan DavenportContributor INovember 23, 2012

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For sneakerheads, the highly anticipated fifth installment of Air Jordan's Johnny Kilroy series is almost here, as the Air Jordan IX Slim Jenkins are set to release on Saturday, November 24. 

Diehard Air Jordan enthusiasts are all but certain to be familiar with the back story behind the Johnny Kilroy series. For those who aren't versed on Kilroy's background, Forbes' Lance Madden recently recounted how the name Johnny Kilroy and the Air Jordan brand originally became connected to one another. 

Not surprisingly, as Madden points out, the creation of the Johnny Kilroy character had everything to do with Michael Jordan's own career.

Jordan abruptly retired in 1993 after winning his third NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls. Nike created a marketing push that involved the creation of Johnny Kilroy, a fictional character that was conspicuously a lot like Jordan. He played like Jordan. His official Upper Deck playing card resembled Jordan. And he wore No. 4 and the Air Jordan IX sneakers—neither of which Jordan had ever worn—like a champion. But was it really Michael Jordan? And what about the other characters, Fontay Montana, Calvin Bailey, Bentley Ellis, Motorboat Jones and Slim Jenkins?

Two one-minute Nike commercials featuring Steve Martin and a handful of NBA players only aired on television once, but became one of the most famous Jordan Brand marketing pieces to date. The commercials spoofed Jordan’s real retirement by asking if he faked his retirement and came back disguised as Kilroy or any of the other players.

The campaign was a hit, and everyone got the message: Even though Jordan was leaving basketball for the baseball diamond, he never really left the basketball court.

Now, with the release of the Slim Jenkins, Air Jordan continues the tradition it started with the introduction of Kilroy in 1993, and does so in style. 

The newest addition to the Kilroy Pack is a slick update to the Air Jordan IX series, and features colors that one could envision MJ picking out himself. 

Without further ado, here's a preview of the new Air Jordan IX Slim Jenkins. 

'WOW' Factor: 6.5 out of 10 

This installment of the Kilroy series is more eye-catching than the last, as the university blue providing a nice foil to the black exterior of the shoe. 

In addition, the "Mystics" embroidery on the tongue, and the "23" included on the heel are both appealing visually, especially against the black background. 

The lacing and texture are nothing new, but the color combination and unique style of the shoe are more than enough to intrigue sneakerheads everywhere. 

That being said, these aren't likely to make waves with the casual sneaker aficionado. At $160, the shoes simply don't bring enough to the table to merit their price tag. 

Design: 7 out of 10

Like the previous additions to the Kilroy Pack, the newest member of the Air Jordan IX family is a solidly-designed shoe that will appeal to both sneakerheads and basketball fans.

It has the same build as all four of the previous installments, and its color scheme—which is similar to that of the UNC Tarheels (MJ's alma mater)—will endear the IX Slim Jenkins to fans of Jordan's college days. 

Though maybe not as flashy as some of the other releases from the Kilroy Pack, the Slim Jenkins are slick in a more understated fashion, which is why they'll appeal to those who love classic-looking Air Jordan kicks.

Overall Swag Grade: 7 out of 10

Obviously, the Air Jordan IX Slim Jenkins are going to be a hot commodity among fans of Air Jordan basketball shoes of the mid-to-early 1990s, as well as those who are fanatics of MJ's days as a Tarheel. 

They're a very aesthetically-pleasing pair of sneakers, and will likely be just as popular as the previous four installments of the Kilroy Pack, but with a price tag of $160, it's clear that they're aimed towards sneakerheads.